Our client, Pure Watercraft, is a Seattle-based startup with a mission is to provide sustainable electric outboard motors. They wanted to create a companion app for their outboard motor product that could easily transfer data from their users’ outboard motors to the company’s Cloud database. However, they did not know what data to include or what other features their users might like in the companion app.
I partnered with three other HCDE graduate students to investigate our client's current problem and design a prototype and create design guidelines for the Pure Watercraft app. We conducted user interviews, analyzed customer data, and conducted competitive research to identify potential users and their needs to more precisely understand user needs . We then created and tested a prototype of the design. The design is intended to help leisurely boaters more easily plan boating trips, discover interest points and attractions, proactively address maintenance needs, and have greater visibility into the system status of their electric boats.
For Pure Watercraft, the new experience reduced troubleshooting and support calls from customers experiencing boat repair issues and provided the company with more insights into the types of repairs customers most often struggle with.
From the customer experience perspective, the new app helped boaters save time and money on repairs and maintenance. With real-time visibility in their boat system status, customers could more quickly diagnose and resolve issues. It also reduced the frequency customers needed to go to repair shops, as they could more proactively address concerns rather than discovering them when the issues had gotten too big. Also by having additional feature, users no longer have to worry about juggling multiple platforms to plan their trip, the app takes care of that need.
This feature allows users to build their trip, view saved trips and points of interests. The app also gives boaters to select from recommended routes.
This feature enables users to browse and save favorite destinations and points of interests. The app also gives boaters relevant information such as weather conditions on the water, GPS information specific to waterways (e.g. areas they cannot pass through, rocky zones)
Typically boaters don’t know much about the boat’s engine. When issues arise, they need to take the boat to the shop to diagnose and make repairs. By giving the customers visibility into the issue right away, the customer can skip the diagnosis stage and go straight to solving the issue. Pure Watercraft can also identify issues remotely and proactively inform customers of possible concerns or maintenance they should take care of.
I conducted a comparative analysis in order to understand current companion apps that were offered by existing competitors and how they visualize their motor system for diagnostics and updates.
user journey map
We created a user journey map and categorized user boating activities into 4 main steps: Plan, Prepare The Boat, Start Boating, Return And Secure.
We conducted 5 semi-structured user interviews (3 sailors and 2 speed boaters) to understand user goals and needs.
"There was something special about getting to actually go somewhere and accomplish something rather than just enjoying water activities."
We prioritized our design decisions base on Novelty, Usefulness and Feasibility. We focused on trip planning, navigation on points of interest and motor trouble shooting.
We implemented potential user flow based on our research and this has a guideline for our design of companion app.
Based on the prioritization and user flows, we built a sitemap to arrange the information architecture of the companion app.
After ideation, we decided to build our design interface based on 3 main features: Trip planning, Explore points of interest, and motor health. I was responsible for how to design the interface of motor health. Below is an example of sketches that I created for the low-fidelity wireframe.
Usability tests were not in scope due to the short amount of time we had for the project and our client wanted us to provide them with research findings and low-fidelity wireframes. If we had a chance to further develop this companion app, conducting several rounds of usability tests and iterate on our design should be considered to make better results for the user goals and satisfaction.
Importance of research
I learned that the research is an important method for finding and understanding subconscious and conscious user goals and this brought our team to build an experience that satisfies latent needs.